The Alchemy Collection live exhibition at Bench Self Made

Written by on July 24, 2013 in Arts, What's on - No comments
The Alchemy Collection at Bench Self Made Gallery, Northern Quarter

The latest project from internationally acclaimed studio Lazerian is taking place right now in The Bench Self Made Gallery, found in the basement of the Bench store on Church Street here in the Northern Quarter. Titled The Alchemy Collection, Liam Hopkins from Lazerian and his team are installed in the Bench Self Made Gallery until 4th August producing a ceramic collection in real time.

The experimental collection, based around the unique properties of ceramic slip, laboratory glassware and victorian drawing machines, will be produced on site in the gallery, culminating in an evening view open to all on Thursday 1st August.

The Alchemy Collection by Lazerian, Bench Self Made Gallery, Northern Quarter

This is the latest project from internationally acclaimed studio Lazerian, based here in Manchester and set up by Liam Hopkins in 2006, which has to date produced works for, among many, the MOBOs, V&A and Habitat. Liam recently curated the Gerald and James exhibition in New York, featuring 105 of Lazerian’s Gerald dogs designed by artists including Oliver Hibert, Jimi Crayon, Tatiana Arocha and Stanley Chow.

Liam Hopkins on The Alchemy Collection: “The current trend in 3D printing urged me to look back at traditional machines that don’t rely on computers and have human interaction, bringing a sense of soul and meaning to an item produced. I’m drawn to create pieces that will be completely unique; the converse of a 3D printed object that can be repeated thousands of times with no sense of individual value.

I have been interested in the properties of ceramic slip for a while, it has a similar consistency to water based paint, but when it comes into contact with plaster it dries almost instantly.

The Alchemy Collection by Lazerian, Bench Self Made Gallery, Northern Quarter

As ceramics are most often purchased for their aesthetics, colour and form, rather than function, due to the longevity of the material, this led me to think about creating an experimental collection with no function other than pieces of objet d’art.

These thoughts combined drove me to redesign a mid 19th century drawing machine to work with ceramics and bring its beautiful geometrical drawings to life in 3D. Experimenting with housing the ceramics in different lab glassware releases different amounts of slip. The machine’s speed and direction can be changed by the artist or designer to create a totally different outcome for each piece.

After the piece has been made with the ceramic, I am then going to look at moulding these pieces into the forms I see will work best with that drawing, bringing the piece to life.

The Alchemy Collection by Lazerian, Bench Self Made Gallery, Northern Quarter

Visitors are invited to go and view The Alchemy Collection as it develops and watch as the art is created between now and the exhibitions close on Sunday 4th August. Don’t miss this.

The Alchemy Collection From Liam Hopkins of Lazerian / Saturday 20th July – Sunday 4th August
The Bench Self Made Gallery / Unit G6 / Smithfield Buildings / 59 Church Street / Manchester